No IT Department? Protecting PCs and Data Is Still Essential

May 12, 2015

It’s not just Home Depot: Your small or midsized business can get hacked, too.

No IT Department image 1For most entrepreneurial businesses, an in-house Information Technology (IT) department is out of the question economically. Still, issues of security, data protection and data loss prevention are as serious for the smallest business as for the largest corporation.

Worse, data thieves and hackers know that businesses of modest size are vulnerable, and target them specifically. When Target or a major health insurance company gets hit, it makes national news. Nobody hears about equally-serious disasters for small businesses.

Here are the PC security concerns you should address:

  • Going it alone doesn’t work – Viruses, malware and data theft are complex issues. New threats appear almost daily. You may not need a dedicated IT department, but you do need expert help to avoid attacks. An investment in professional data security consulting is wise. Ask your business advisers for informed recommendations.
  • Viruses & malware can shut you down – Individual PCs and your network need top-of-the-line software to block and remove these dangerous threats. Whatever protective software you choose, make sure it receives regular, automatic updates. Updates and scans can be scheduled outside of business hours. Don’t skimp on this protection.
  • Data theft is common and criminal – Without properly configured firewalls and a robust password protection program, your customer data and financial accounts are vulnerable. Attacks on either can put you out of business. Regular security updates of operating systems and major applications are a must to prevent exploitation of security gaps.
  • Don’t ignore potential internal threats – Access permissions for critical data need to be tightly controlled. Network and data passwords must be strong and should be monitored carefully and changed periodically. Entire databases can be copied to a USB stick if network file permissions are set improperly. When key employees leave, your risks are even higher.
  • No IT Department image 2Off-site data backups protect against disaster – With today’s secure cloud storage, there’s no excuse for an inadequate data backup program. By setting up automated daily backups of critical data, natural disasters, fires or equipment failures won’t destroy the business you’ve worked so hard to grow. Work with your security consultant to implement a comprehensive plan.
  • Casual web browsing can put your data at risk – Policies to control Internet access on your PC network are essential. Destructive malware and viruses often enter networks from malicious websites, email attachments and seemingly harmless apps on mobile devices. Effective browser controls and thorough employee data security training can minimize these risks.

Adequate PC & Network Security Is Just Complex – Not Impossible

Threats to your business data, your network and individual PCs are constantly evolving and increasing in frequency. Every business, from sole proprietorships to Fortune 500 companies, must take security seriously. Fortunately, effective tools and practices can minimize these threats. Forming a relationship with a qualified and trusted security consultant is your company’s best protection if no in-house IT department is available.

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